Tesla’s semi-truck already has buyers and one of them is Walmart. The Verge reported that the retail giant has already ordered 15 of Elon Musk’s electric big rigs after the official unveiling on Thursday night.
“We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions,” the company said in a statement.
Walmart plans to test the efficiency of the Tesla Semi in the U.S. and Canada. Out of the 15 electric haulers, five are earmarked for Walmart’s U.S. routes, while 10 are destined for Canada. While this is good news for Tesla, the addition of these 15 electric vehicles represents only a small fraction of Walmart’s fleet of about 6,000 trucks.
Walmart isn’t the only company to jump on the Tesla Semi wave. According to CNBC, JB Hunt Transport Services has also put in their order.
“We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology,” John Roberts, president and CEO at J.B. Hunt said.
CNBC also reported that investment analysts have said that the Tesla Semi could be “disruptive to truck markets” because of its impressive specs and low cost to own compared to traditional haulers.
Tesla unveiled its first electric semi — and it looks like a spaceship pic.twitter.com/nS1YtTj6LN— Business Insider (@businessinsider) November 18, 2017
“We believe the large U.S. market will support sales of the Tesla Semi as we think the vehicle should be competitive with many traditional heavy-duty trucks, and exceed performance of existing electric trucks,” said Ben Kallo, senior research analyst at Baird Equity Research
While there has been a lot of positive press around the new Tesla Semi and the Roadster that was unveiled on the same night, there are some who aren’t so optimistic about Tesla’s market chances.
Bob Lutz, an ex-General Motors GM has said that he thinks that Tesla is going out of business and won’t make it to 2019. The reason? He claims that Elon Musk’s premium electric vehicle company has an inefficient manufacturing operation and a non-existent dealership network.
Tesla’s electric truck might need to drive in the region of a million miles to break even against the cost of a diesel truck. https://t.co/jylmdy2svO— MIT Tech Review (@techreview) November 17, 2017
Lutz also said that there’s nothing that Tesla is doing that can’t be easily replicated by other car manufacturers.
“There is no secret sauce in Tesla. They use the same lithium-ion batteries as everybody else.” Lutz said in an interview with CNBC.
He added that General Motors actually has a leg up on Tesla because their batteries cost less.
Lutz also said that he thinks the reveal of the Tesla Semi and the Roadster was an effort to distract the public from the real financial problems that the company is currently experiencing.
Whether Lutz’ predictions ring true or not remains to be seen. Tesla’s production issues with their mass-market EV effort, the Tesla Model 3 have had their share of bad press. We know that parts orders have been slashed, less than 500 Model 3s have been delivered and Elon Musk has said they are in”production hell.”
But will the “production bottlenecks” bring down the disruptive EV trailblazer that Elon Musk built? Only time will tell.
[Featured Image by Tesla]